The Barbie Window

I stroll down 17th Street everyday on my walk/commute to work. I purposely go this way not only to avoid the craziness of the Tartine Bakery lines and Bi-Rite Market deliveries on 18th Street and the general mayhem of16th Street, but also to catch a glimpse of a thoughtfully choreographed guerrilla art installation that has become my weekly delight. The Barbie Window, as I like to call it, is curated by a mysterious inhabitant of an apartment on 17th between Dolores and Guerrero Streets. Each week, a rotating (and as far as I can tell never-repeating) series of Barbie dolls are posed in a high second story window beneath a thick tree canopy facing out onto the street below. I almost always forget its coming until I’m right upon the building–and it has become something to look forward to each week as i make my way towards the office each morning. Now, let me be clear that I am not talking about a random doll looking out the window, but a very carefully choreographed stage set of vintage Barbie dolls in beautiful outfits frozen in a lively scene.  One week might be a sailor in full uniform, or a party of 1950s co-eds at a dance, or a bride and groom on their wedding day, or a group of Ken Barbies looking dapper in Bermuda shorts. I’ve started snapping photos as I pass, the dark reflections in the photos showing how prominent the tree canopy is above this otherwise hidden treasure in San Francisco’s cityscape. It is obvious that this is someone’s creative project and I wonder if they know how much delight it brings to me as I pass by on this otherwise boring residential street?

Barbie 1 crop


Barbie 3 crop

Leave a Reply